Posted on Fri Aug 25th, 2017 @ 3:31pm by Lieutenant Commander Scott Stark MD & Commander Nicole "Nikki" Beckett MD & Ensign Henro & Commander Sean "Shack" Byrnes & Lieutenant Junior Grade Cabhan "Kevan" Doolin & Commander L'Mina & 1st Lieutenant Surriat & Lieutenant Brent Daniels & Ensign Kent Byrd & Ensign Leah Burns
Creatures in the Corner
Timeline: MD3 - 0530 (planet time)
The information Nikki and Scott had gathered from Anlise's account of the attack hadn't told them much more than what they already knew.
"it was horrible," the girl told the team. "It was big and ugly and it had this gross slime all over it. It appeared out of nowhere. Father shoved me away but some of the slimy stuff got on my arm," she held up the stump. "It burned so bad. It spit some on Father and he screamed then something long...it looked like a hose...came out of its mouth and went into Father's mouth and he choked then....then...he went limp. Like a rag doll with no stuffing." Anlise was overcome with tears and she hid in her mother's lap, unable to continue.
"May I see you arm?" Scott said. Using a bioscanner he examined what was left of Anlise's stump. It was a marginally decent amputation....removed from just below the elbow. He had expected it to be worse considering what the colony had to work with.
"It still hurts," Anlise said.
Scott smiled and said, "I can make it so it doesn't hurt anymore." He looked at Anlise's mother and said, "we have the technology to repair the nerves and, even construct a prosthetic that will work just as well as her real arm. It will grow with her and she will be able to do everything she did before. But I will have to take her back to my ship where I have the equipment and instruments I will need. Of course you may come along." It had taken some convincing but Scott was able to get the girl's mother to say yes but Scott, Anlise and her mother went back to the Freedom on one of the shuttles right after feeding the team dinner.
"Be careful, Nik," Scott said before heading off to the shuttle.
"I've got plenty of protection. I'll be fine. Go. Fix," Nikki said with a smile.
With sunset not far away, the remaining members of the medical team had set up their triage and aid station on an area of undeveloped land of the neighboring farm....within view of the science team's tented lab. By midnight the medical team was exhausted and lay down on supply containers, exam tables....whatever was available.
The early rays of sunshine made their way through the flaps of the triage tent and the smell of fresh air woke Nikki up but she refused to open her eyes. She curled up under an emergency blanket hoping for a few more minutes of sleep. But it wasn't to be. A bone chilling screech echoed in the valley. Nikki sat straight up...the hairs on the back of her neck standing up.
"What was that?" Henro asked, also jerked from a sound sleep.
"I don't know," Nikki said. "But it wasn't human."
"No, far from it, Doctor. The thing sprayed me and I just managed to get it off of me. It burned, but it didn't paralyze me at all, which I was surprised about. I won't go any where without my rifle or my hand pistol. Its old, but it works well," a farmer said as he came in through the front flap of the tent.
Nikki jumped down from the top of the supply container that had been doubling as her bed, grabbed a med kit and ran over to the man. "You saw it?" she asked as she led the man over to an exam table. To Henro she said, "get his shirt off of him so we can take a look at his burns." Then she tapped her combadge. "Redex to Byrnes....there's been an attack. Creature is still at large near our location," she said as Henro helped her with their patient.
L'Mina had been with the medical team so far, as she hadn't much to do while the runabouts were on the ground. She was used to being up when the sun came up, so she was looking around near the tents when she heard the screech. Her sensitive ears turned towards the sound.
"That was some form of communication," she said, "you probably didn't hear it, but there was a lot of modulation in the higher tones. It was saying something, although I wouldn't know what."
Since Byrnes was elsewhere with Taavis, Washburn and his two people went outside, each taking a kneeling position and looking in different directions.
"We best put some extra force field generators around our tents," L'Mina suggested, "those will certainly not stop those creatures. I'm going to have a look around and see what I can sniff out."
Washburn heard what was said. "Doolin, help us out, let's get the shield generators in place."
"Are ya daft?" Kevan was taken aback by what was said. "We came down by shuttle, so I didn't exactly pack a bunch of posts and electronics on me back. We'll have to replicate some things and then hump the other equipment from the ships."
Another hair raising screech echoes across the valley, seemingly to emanate from somewhere in the mountains.
Doctor Surriat grabed his phaser and holstered it and also had his medical tricorder. "Doctor Redex, I could go forward with Doctor Daniels and get a closer look at things, if you like."
"That was a different one," L'Mina remarked, "they have a fairly complex communication going on there. If they are going to keep screaming like this, it's going to be easy to find them."
The farmer shook his head, vigorously at the other doctors. "You won't see them until they are on you," he said, wincing as Henro applied some sodium sesquicarbonate gel to neutralize the acid. "And then it's too late."
"Let's leave the sleuthing to security," Nikki said.
"I think I'm going to have a look around," L'Mina said, "sniffing out those things."
"Be careful, Commander," Nikki said.
Taavis, with Byrnes as her guardian, was once more back at the first attack site. The ground and doorjamb were melted and carbon scored, a direct result of the acid. She found it curious that these creatures continuously dripped this substance. If they were intelligent they would have to know that, after a length of time, everything they touched would eventually collapse from lack of material due to the acid effects.
Getting back on track, the screeches heard from various points in the treeline, Taavis was about to turn and fold her tricorder up to head back. She froze, her eyes catching a refraction of sunlight. Getting on ehr hands and knees, tricorder open on the turf, Taavis leaned in close, her face a few inches off the ground and looking into the grass. There, before her, ws what appeared to be a spider web, but the material it was made from was sturdier, and it was off-color. A seemingly sickly yellow-green color in the sunlight, but looking solid black otherwise.
Byrnes saw her with her arse in the air and face down to the ground. "Taavis, what have you got?" Another screech caused his head to turn and look, the two of them just outside the front door for the dwelling.
"It appears to be a secreted resin, hardened, acting like a spider web." Taavis was still fascinated by it, the perfection and simplicity.
"And, that means what?" Shack kept his head on a swivel as he spoke.
Taavis took several point blank scans of the resin, but had not touched it yet. "It means that these creatures are fully aware of when and where people move in their territory. If these resin webs are scattered about, and I have no reason to suspect they aren't, then it is an early warning system for the beasts. This is how they know when to strike for maximum effectiveness."
Shack nodded, understanding. "Less chance for their kind to be wounded if they strike at the back of the herd, so to speak."
"Precisely," Taavis stood up and holstered her tricorder. "The acid also has resin mixed within it, hardening there on the door frame where it didn't eat away the material." She squatted to look at the door frame again. "A lone person is easier to abduct and convert to food than a group, and if they realize that humanoids are smart too, then it is war. If they understand the concept of war. The other logical course to the attacks is they feel threatened by the humanoids in the area, for whatever reason."
Leah got curious and wanted to see the first attack site. She knew that at least Commander Byrnes was there and maybe she could get a look around. She walked up to the buliding and saw the two officers she then said, "Commander Byrnes, I'm Doctor Burns. Have you found anything more?"
Shack glanced at the Ensign, keeping his head moving. "Yes, we have. Now, kindly lower your voice and get in here." He motioned for the wobblehead medical officer to enter the building.
Another screech came from what sounded like a distance but when the security team looked in that direction the tree line at the base of the hills appeared to waver like a heat wave. A couple of the security officers moved into position and took a knee, their phasers aimed toward the mountains. Out of nowhere a Qirs appeared in front of Byrd and spewed a yellowish brown mucus over the ensign.
Byrd screamed as the mucus began to burn through his clothing. A rancid smoke came from his body.
Leah stepped toward the dying security officer but another one grabbed her to stop her.
The other security officer fell backward as some of the mucus splashed his way and he scrambled backward, firing his phaser at the creature to no avail.
The Qir opened its mouth and a tubule emerged and sought out Byrd's already open mouth. It traveled into Byrd's throat and within minutes Byrd's body began to deflate as everything except his burned skeleton was liquefied and sucked into the creature.
Doolin, setting up the fourth force field generator on a post, heard the screeching and screaming. Spinning about he saw the large Qir over the top of a deflating body. His first instinct was to puke all over himself but his survival instinct kicked into over-ride. So, he drew his phaser pistol and took aim with the two-handed pose, aiming and firing into the side of the creature's head.
The Qir's hard shelled skull didn't seem phased by the phaser blast. It did, however, get its attention and it retracted the tubule from Byrd and let what was left of his body drop to the ground as it turned and faced Doolin.
The other security officer kept firing at the Qir's chest in hopes of hitting its heart....if it even had one.
The Qir turned and looked at him...took a couple of steps in his direction and spewed mucus over the man as he tried to scramble backward.
The lieutenant screamed.
Byrnes, seeing two of his five people go down, and the phasers not having any affect, ran in. He tossed his rifle aside and grabbed a pitchfork on the way. With a roar like his Viking and Celtic ancestors Shack gave a two-handed, over the head spear thrust into the creatures side. The tines penetrated the hard carapace and yellowish-green blood acid spewed from the wounds, eating away at the tines. Shack had wounded it badly, it screamed in what could only be disguised as pain, turning its head his way as if surprised that one of the these soft animals had damaged it. The Qir blood did not spew too far his way so he pulled the pitchfork out and thrust in again.
The Qir spun and used its tail, smacking Shack in the right ribs and sending him flying as it gimped off into the treeline. He landed in a tumble and came to his feet quickly, the right side of his blouse beginning to smolder so he unzipped and chucked the top away. Seeing an ax he pulled it from the stump, then took up a metallic trash can lid and ran back into the fray. The smell of acid eaten flesh was almost overpowering. His side ached but that was secondary to saving lives. Looking like Thor himself, muscles bulging in his Underarmor sleeveless under shirt, Sean Byrnes was going into battle without fear. Valhalla awaited, and some of these Qirs would be going with him.
"Oh my God....he's crazy!" Leah screamed.
"Shack, no!" Nikki cried out. She tapped her combadge and said, "Eclipse....this is Redex. We are under attack."
On the bridge of the Eclipse all that was heard was, "...Re.....are...." then static.
The Qir staggered and faded for a second but was unable to cloak itself. It screeched, as if calling for help.
To Be Continued